The Army Bowl enters its 17th year this coming week in San Antonio, TX. It wasn’t until 2007 that it was determined that a traditional halftime show was exactly what the Army Bowl needed. To provide the CliffsNotes version of the story, the 2008 USAAAMB was formed. After all, what football game doesn’t involve a marching band? 2017 also marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. In many conversations with USAAAMB Program Manager, Brian Prato, he always mentioned simply hoping for a year two after year one. He also mentions keeping a trashcan nearby and during that first performance, just in case. After many challenges and proud moments, 2017 brings a whole new light to the program.
Each year has brought fond – but different – memories for the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band members. Thinking back to 2009, I distinctly remember the Crossmen food truck meals and over-sized rehearsal tees and wind suits. 2015 was the year of wind and rain…oh and yellow rehearsal outfits – like, REALLY yellow. While many things have changed the All-American experience, a few things remain – the lasting impressions of the U.S. Army and the memories shared by long-time friends.
Over 1200 band and colorguard students have walked through the tunnel of the Alamodome, donned in a DeMoulin uniform, show makeup and hair, and united by the common love of performance. It is the involvement of the U.S. Army that makes the experience of the USAAAMB truly unique.
Increased media presence, the switch to adidas branded gear, and a growing operations team are things that come to mind when thinking of the changes the USAAAMB experienced. The list could go on and on. The band has rehearsed at Lackland Air Force Base, Fort Sam Houston, and many more pins on the map. An experience such as the one provided by the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band simply stands alone.
Years have gone by and many alumni have married, had children, and are exploring a degree or career. A group of alumni will be reuniting in San Antonio this year to celebrate the incoming 2017 class and share the common thread of the marching arts once again.
On behalf of all the alumni, thank you to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Field Band, the National Association for Music Education, Drum Corps International (DCI), Jupiter Band Instruments, DeMoulin Brothers Uniforms and a crowd of additional supporters that grant this opportunity to young musicians and colorguard members each year. A short trip to San Antonio leaves a lasting impression on all of us!
**ALUMNI – share your memories in the comments below! What stands out from your year in San Antonio?